Thursday, December 15, 2011

What's Your Opinion on MyGlam?

YouTube Beauty Guru Michelle Phan's new pet project MyGlam is causing quite a beauty stir.

Due to poor lighting (couldn't snap any good photos), today's "Thrifty Thursday" post is suspended. Instead, I'd like to open a discussion about the new kid on the monthly beauty product sample club block. Whew, that was a mouthful right? Just in case you don't know what I'm talking about, here are the names of the beauty sample clubs and some deets, as reported by Katherine at Handmade Reviews:

United States
  • Beautyfix ($49.99/three months)
    • You'll choose the 8 products you want to receive and pay $49.99.
  • Birchbox ($10/month)
    • Each month, you get 4-6 beauty products ranging from samples, deluxe samples, to full sized. You can review the items you receive to earn points and then redeem the points for $ off the full sized products.
  • Eco-Emi ($15/month)
    • Eco-Emi sends out environmentally friendly products, including cosmetics, health, food, and household items.
  • GoGoGirlfriend ($12.95/month)
    • Health and beauty samples with two different membership types.
  • His Black Box ($12/month)
    • Monthly samples for men.
  • Julep Maven ($19.99/month)
    • Hand, nail and foot care subscription.
  • Makeup Monthly ($30/month)
    • There have been rumors of this company shipping out discontinued or expired makeup. As there are so many other reliable services available, I do not recommend you try them.
  • MyGlam ($10/month)
    • Michelle Phan's service in which every month, you receive a Glam Bag with 4 to 5 full-sized products or deluxe-sized samples.
  • New Beauty Test Tube ($29.95 + $8.95 shipping = $38.90/three months)
    • This is very expensive, but the products you get are also more expensive than the others.
  • Loose Button or Luxe Box ($12/month)
    • Delivers 4-5 deluxe beauty samples monthly.
  • Glymm ($10/month)
    • Delivers 4-5 deluxe beauty samples every month.
United Kingdom:
  • Amarya Beauty Box (£10/month or £120/year.)
    • Every month you get one or more full sized product plus samples.
  • Boudoir Prive (£10 + £2.95 = £12.95/month)
    • You get 5-6 deluxe beauty products every month.
  • Feel Unique Beauty Box (£9.95/month)
    • You get 5 deluxe beauty products every month.
  • GlossyBox (£10 month + £2.95 shipping = £12.95/month)
    • Every month GlossyBox delivers a mix of 5 product miniatures packed in a beautiful box.
  • Latest In Beauty (starts at £1/month)
    • Get monthly boxes for a higher fee or just a sample here and there for cheaper.
  • Lust Have It ($14.95/month or $160/12 months)
    • Monthly Lust Pack with 5 to 6 premium size samples plus a reward program similar to Birchbox.

 And now that you have an idea, let's get to the bread and butter of this post. I have to admit that when I first heard of these "clubs", I wasn't interested. Being a relatively dark skinned kinky/curly haired black woman, I didn't think any of these clubs would be sensitive to my needs or the needs of women like me. In all the blog reviews I've read, forums I've scoured and videos I've watched none of the women like me were impressed with the samples they received. Beauty is a big booming money making industry and there's no sign of its growth abating, this is the reason why beauty subscription clubs will be popular and profitable. But will ethnic women be left out in the cold? Let's take a look at the "stylists" for MyGlam:

These are all wildly popular (based on stats from YouTube) "beauty gurus" from Youtube. Personally, I'm subscribed to three (Michelle, Promise and Andrea) of the five and usually enjoy their videos. Of the three, I like Promise the most because she does transformation tutorials. She once did a tutorial where she turned herself into Mystique (X-Men Character) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana's character from Avatar). Many of Promise's transformation tuts are usually great for any woman to recreate (men too) regardless of her (or his) ethnicity. I like some of Michelle's videos because she has some great DIY's and tips/tricks. I watch Andrea's videos mostly because she's funny. That being said, rarely do I use any of their regular makeup tutorials...our complexions are just too dissimilar. Despite the glaring differences, I still like them and thus, wanted to support their MyGlam venture. I figured that since the three "gurus" I like are women of ethnicity, perhaps they'd make special concessions when approving products for the "Glam Bags". Just in case though, I wrote them an e-mail...


To Whom It May Concern: I ticked the wrong box for the age question on the sign up quiz, will this affect my subscription at all or is the question strictly for demographic purposes? Also, I'm slightly concerned that none of the gurus on the beauty team are black women. I'm a dark skinned black woman and would really appreciate having a guru that I can more closely identify with. I admire and really like the current panel of gurus, but their tutorials/product choices aren't always appropriate for dark skin. I hope those of us with darker skin tones and coarse hair will be taken into consideration when the Glam Bag products are chosen. Thank you for your time and anticipated sensitivity to my concerns, I'm looking forward to my first Glam Bag.

Nicole, A Beauty & Style Enthusiast 

Response from Nicole Robinson-Anderson:  

Hi Nicole,

The quiz answers don't affect what products you will get in your Glam Bag, so no worries. As far as the gurus, Andrea is actually black, but I do understand where you are coming from as her choices are not always suitable for darker skin. I am black, and a few shades darker than Andrea so even some of the stuff she wears is too light for me. My suggestion is that when you find a look you like, when you go to purchase this, you can take the name of the color the guru used and ask someone who works for the store or brand to assist you in finding that same type of look in your own suitable shade.
Hope that helps!!
Nicole with MyGlam
Hi back Nicole,

Thanks so much for writing back, I appreciate it. In all honesty, your response didn't really address my concerns about the products that may or may not be included in the Glam Bags. It's easy enough to watch a tutorial and switch out products that don't work for my dark skin and kinky hair, my concern however, is about the Glam Bag products themselves. Although I know this service is optional and I don't have to participate, I really want to. As I said before, I happen to like some of the gurus who are on board for this project and they are the main reason I chose to support the venture. That being said, I'm still worried that the needs of dark skinned kinky haired women may not be addressed since there doesn't appear to be anyone who fairly represents them. I'm hoping for the best when my first Glam Bag arrives...
Nicole, A Beauty & Style Enthusiast
Response from Nicole Robinson-Anderson:
Hi Nicole,

If you do not like the products, you can cancel at any time for sure. As I stated before, the products sent are not based on skin color, ethnicity, or even personal preference. The point is to allow people to try new things. If the products are not satisfactory for you, just log into your account and cancel, but maybe just try and give it a try for 2 months before you make a final decision.

Nicole with MyGlam

**Every customer is V.I.P. at MyGlam**

 End transmission. Now, is it just me or was her last response a little snarky? I don't know much about running a business and marketing, but I do know that customer service/satisfaction is key. If you don't do your best to satisfy the concerns of your customers and provide them with good products and experiences, you can kiss your reputation goodbye. I wasn't pleased with the response I received to say the least. 
So even though I haven't received my first "Glam Bag" (I've certainly been charged though) I'm considering canceling. I would love to take part in one of these monthly beauty sample clubs, but I need to know that the products I receive will reflect me...or at least be something I can use.

What do you think? Am I being overly sensitive about the e-mail response? Should I stick with the subscription for a month or two and see if I can use/like what I receive? What would you do? Let a sistah know please!

By the way, the His Black Box would make a great gift for your significant other/husband/brother/father/etc. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Hi, I definitely don't think you are overreacting. I just find it odd that she thinks after spending money for products you want to use, you need to take said product elsewhere and purchase there because what theysent doesn't suit you. wth.
Andrea also does not represent every woman of color, we come in all shades, and many hair types. She also looks more mixed than anything. Now if they added someone like Scandalous Beauty to the mix, then we'd be in business.

Her last email was extremely snarky, I wouldn't be surprised if the 'Nicole' was one of gurus themselves, or a close friend. I tried to sign up for myglam but was told they were out of products, based on your communication with them, I will be staying far away. I also know of some women who got their bags and are very dissatisfied. With that said, not only is marketing a plus, but customer service is everything. Her reply in that email was equivalent too 'you don't like it click cancel and kick rocks'. You should do a YT vid putting them on blast as well.

mangosorbet said...

Hello. The products from the current bag seem universal. I could see a brown skin person using all of the products. I have seen Promise use a darker skin model before but that may not be good enough for some. Instead of complaining about what they decided to do maybe it's opportunity knocking to fill a void in the market.

Anonymous said...

I don't think you are overreacting either.

I subscribe to birchbox and I know that they state on their site that they try to cater the products to your skin color/type as well as hair type. Their customer service is super friendly and very accommodating. I would check them out. I am also African American, and I haven't had any problems with the colors of any of the products so far.

Anonymous said...

The email sounded a little snarky, but as a black girl who just received her MyGlame bag, I can say I haven't really had any issues with what I've received. I do say to just give it a try. I was pleasantly surprised.

Anonymous said...

Your situation is the exact reason I haven't jumped on the monthly beauty club bandwagon... (BeautyMint is another one sort of!)... :( let us know if you end up giving them a shot! I'd like to hear about how it goes...

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I think you are overreacting, and being a bit petty. A black member of the Glam staff responded to you, and I don't think she was snarky at all. She tried to explain that the items aren't based on skin color at all, which I assume means they'll be universal.

I'm probably darker than you, and I am very pleased with the selections in my first box. I would give it a try BEFORE you start complaining.

Anonymous said...

Not over reacting at all. very snarky with their so called black guru. Aint nothing black about her. I also dont believe the person youve been emailing is black. I couldnt care less about programs like this to be honest.

Nicole said...

@Anon #1 A.K.A. "S": You're right, Andrea is not a good representative for black women because she's mixed, not black. I understand that not all the products will be suitable for every subscriber, but my concern is, are they even trying to pick products that are geared towards "Every Woman"? If I'm spending my money with a company, I want some consideration...just a little. Is that asking too much? Thanks for weighing in!

@Mangosorbet: I'm glad the first bag had products that seemed to be universal, that makes me feel more inclined to go through with my least until I see what's to come. I wasn't complaining about the products per se, I was voicing a concern about how inclusive the products would be. I'm not very happy with what I view as a snarky e-mail though. You're right, this is an opportunity to fill a void, thanks for reaffirming my second thought and weighing in.

@Anon #2: I was wondering about Birhbox. I thought about subscribing to them when I first heard about them but I was too chicken. When MyGlam came out, I took the plunge because I felt like I "knew" these gurus. I'll look into BB since you seem to be having a good experience with them. How many boxes have you received thus far? What was in your most recent box? Thanks for weighing in!

@Anon #3: I'll def give it a try and see what I can see. The December bag (with the exception of the pink blush sheets) seemed decent enough. I hope the January bag will be even better. Thanks for weighing in!

@Haute PP: I'm going forward with the subscription and crossing my fingers that the January bag will be as nice as, or better than, the December bag. I'll mos def do a follow up post once I get the January bag and let everyone know what I think of it. I joined BeautyMint, but I seriously doubt I will ever purchase anything. The products don't draw me in and you don't get a new product every month. I think they need to go back to the drawing board, lol. Thanks for weighing in HPP, I need to catch up on your blog pronto!

@Gorgeous: Petty? How so? How do I or you know that the person who responded to me is black? For all either of us know, an Asian man responded to me. As a paying MyGlam customer, I (or anyone else) have every right to express concerns about the products being paid for. Beauty companies, if they wish to succeed, have to keep in mind that beauty is not one shade/size fits all and good customer service is paramount. Black women spend close to a billion dollars on hair care and beauty items every year, our money should get us some say. If not, I'll take my money elsewhere. Complaining? Not at all. Concerned? Indeed! I'm glad you're pleased with your products though.

@Anon #4: I also have suspicions that the person who e-mailed me is a non-black. I want to like programs like this, I really do! I'm just bothered that black women aren't involved in a more proactive way. I guess I better round up some sistahs who want to change the game for the greater good hunh? Thanks for weighing in!

misstick said...

Honestly get a life, you seem to spend your time complaining about everything. those guys are a young company, you got for $10 a bag full of makeup, what do else you want? if you not happy just move on, stop complaining all the time and sound like a victim. Its just make-up.

Nicole said...

@Misstick: Okay troll, thanks for weighing in with your quite humorous *ahem* opinion. Now go back to your remedial English class and pay more attention to the teacher. Mmmkay? Thanks.

mschicamae said...

If this was a free sample program you were signing up for I'd say oh don't worry about it you can give away stuff you don't like, but since this is a paid program I think you have every right to question what type of products you'll be getting. I didn't really like the rep's responses either, very snarky, even from the beginning. I think that could have been handled much better.

Nicole said...

@MsChicamae: Indeed, it would be different (perhaps) if the program were free, but it isn't. As long as I am a paying customer I will voice my concerns and provide suggestions whether they are solicited or not. How else does a company ensure that it's meeting the needs/desires of its customers unless there's feedback? Thanks for weighing in!